The SkyCity Convention Centre fire will impact the Apec conference in 2021, but it will not jeopardise Auckland hosting the nearly year-long event, says Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

Speaking on his way into work this morning, Goff said smoke and other health and safety issues from the billowing smoke could mean the evacuation of the council headquarters where thousands of staff work.

He said if it is anything like last evening, the council headquarters and other central city buildings would not be suitable for working in because of the effects on people's respiratory systems and eyes.

"My suit from yesterday just stinks of smoke, my eyes were watering, the back of the throat was sore."


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The council headquarters are based behind the SkyCity precinct in Albert St, and down wind from the fire at the SkyCity international convention centre.

Goff said the wider implications revolve around Apec - the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference that culminates in the most powerful leaders in the world coming to Auckland in November 2021, including US President Donald Trump (if elected next year), China's Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The leaders' meeting is scheduled to take place at the SkyCity Convention Centre. Other meetings will occur in the lead-up to the leaders' meeting in Auckland and other cities, but Goff did not think they would be affected by the fire.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the SkyCity fire will impact the Apec conference. Photo / Herald
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the SkyCity fire will impact the Apec conference. Photo / Herald

Goff said the convention centre was due to be finished by August or September next year and from a lay person's perspective it appears the work will be put back by more than a year.

"It seems to me, having watched that fire evolve over hours and hours and the difficulty in putting the fire out, the extensiveness of the damage and the water cascading off the building like a waterfall into Hobson, there will be extensive fire and water damage.

"You have got to believe that has put in jeopardy the ability of the convention centre to host the Apec meeting."

The mayor said he would be working with the Government on a plan B for alternative accommodation for the Apec leaders meeting.


Goff said he had not spoken with the Prime Minister or senior ministers about the impact of the fire on Apec, but his office has been in touch with the senior officer for Apec at foreign affairs.

He expects to have discussions with the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern when she visits the scene of the fire today.

"It will not jeopardise the hosting of Apec but it means alternative plans have to be put in place," he said.

"It will be disappointing for Auckland because we were looking forward to a brand new convention centre that was fit for purpose."